Youth in Arts invites seventh and eighth grade students at Davidson Middle School to participate in the creation of a public mural about the history of San Rafael. This large-scale mural will be installed in downtown San Rafael at the current Youth in Arts space, 917 C Street. Throughout the school year students will be led by a professional artist in the creation of the mural, which will be unveiled in June 2012 in a community-wide celebration.
Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Brooke Toczylowski will guide a leadership team of 15-20 students in the research and creation of the mural. In addition to this leadership team the Mentor Artist will be available to collaborate and work with the social studies teachers in designed and facilitating an integrated curriculum around the history of San Rafael. Students and teachers will ponder inquiry questions like, “How do Artists Represent History?” and “How is History Told by Different People?”
Students participating on the leadership team will gain a wide range of skills they can transfer to other disciplines. Each youth artist will be in charge of keeping an art journal they will use for research, sketches, ideas, questions, and reflections. The research segment of the project will investigate the history of San Rafael, cultural connections, Master Artists, personal experiences, interviews, and more. Students will be exposed to resources with the Mentor Artist but will also be expected to do research in their art journals outside of meeting time. The leadership group will take 1-3 field trips during the course of the project: 1) a walking field trip of San Rafael 2) a visit to the Marin History Museum 3) a visit to San Rafael artists’ studios. These experiences will connect students personally to the content being studied and will provide the group with ideas and sketches for the mural itself. The art journals will be a place for students to document and record these academic and personal experiences. Segments of the journals will be on display during the 2012 unveiling in a gallery exhibit complementing the mural project.
In addition to historical and artistic research students will experiment with a variety of artistic materials during the residency. Through drawing in their art journals they will explore composition, shape, line, value, and other formal concerns. During studio time with the Mentor Artist they will learn about color, painting, and photography.
In addition to exploring the area, researching history, and investigating materials, the youth artists will develop skills for working in the public arena. They will brainstorm, plan, and collaborate as a team to design a final composition. With this final sketch they will propose their mural to the San Rafael City Council. They may need to re-adjust, make changes and re-propose it. Throughout this process they will learn that projects have take a lot of work and require patience and focus.